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(Edmunds)   American automotive service industry: You should definitely change your oil every 3000 miles. American automotive consumers: Uh ... nice try   (edmunds.com) divider line 129
    More: Unlikely, Americans, Honda Fit, loan servicing, Jiffy Lube, design engineer, waste management, american car, window stickers  
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7091 clicks; posted to Business » on 27 Jan 2013 at 8:43 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-27 03:52:32 AM
My car has been 7500 since new, and the service manual doesn't indicate that the interval should change over the life of the car.  I'm just getting to 150,000 miles, so I've been doing it every 5K just to be safe, but I could probably still get away with every 7500.  I've been meaning to try synthetic, but the local oil change shops charge a goddamn fortune for it and I'll have to do it myself for it to make any economic sense.
 
2013-01-27 03:57:48 AM
Accurate article is accurate.
 
2013-01-27 04:00:49 AM
My Acura TSX has a built in oil change reminder, which averages about 7000 miles, and even then I think it's probably too often. Oil changes are such a scam.
 
2013-01-27 04:37:24 AM
I just bought a new Volvo yesterday. The manual says every 10,000 miles. The 2003 Jetta I just traded in was 5,000.
 
2013-01-27 06:31:58 AM
To be honest, I always though the purpose of changing oil was more to remove contaminants and metal shavings than because the oil lost lubricating ability.

For the record, I have always changed our vehicles at 5000. It may be overkill, but then again my last three vehicles have averaged over 230,000 miles before trade in. Given the cost of a new vehicle, sending an extra $1800 seems like a good bet to make for a payoff of an extra year or two on a vehicle.
 
2013-01-27 08:48:38 AM
FTA: As a result, even the most cautious owners are dumping their engine oil twice as often as their service manuals recommend.

Irritating.
 
2013-01-27 08:49:06 AM
I've got a Passat with the 1.8T. If you've got a VW turbo and don't make oil changes a religion, the engine will leap out of the hood and try to devour you.

/Maybe not getting a VW next time.
 
2013-01-27 08:57:36 AM
Newsflash: If a shop charges $30 for an oil change and spends a half hour at $100/hour labor rate plus $20 in materials costs, how much profit is there in an oil change?

On the other hand, changing the timing chains and guides at 60k because of lack of maintenance is very profitable.

/if we were interested solely in making money, we'd tell people to do nothing until it breaks
 
2013-01-27 09:05:26 AM
This is why I don't go to those JiffyLube places. I only go to the dealership for proper maintenance.
 
2013-01-27 09:12:00 AM
I've always change at 5K because it is easy to remember, - 10K, 15K, 20K, etc...

I used to always change my own oil but with the price of oil and the hassle of having to drive a sloshing container of oil to the recycling center, I found I am only saving about $20 from having the local Toyota dealer change it so I let them do it.
 
2013-01-27 09:14:52 AM
I go whenever the sticker on my windshield tells me to go. They also check and change all the other assorted engine fluids. Last time they replaced one of my taillights for me that I didn't realize was out, free of charge.

I love my mechanic.
 
2013-01-27 09:16:07 AM
maybe for the first few changes on a new engine. just to make sure the metal gets flushed good.

/otherwise its stupid
 
2013-01-27 09:24:41 AM

mr_a: To be honest, I always though the purpose of changing oil was more to remove contaminants and metal shavings than because the oil lost lubricating ability.

For the record, I have always changed our vehicles at 5000. It may be overkill, but then again my last three vehicles have averaged over 230,000 miles before trade in. Given the cost of a new vehicle, sending an extra $1800 seems like a good bet to make for a payoff of an extra year or two on a vehicle.


The first part of your statement is absolutely correct.

I have a 1997 Grand Marquis with the puke first-gen 4.6L that I bought from my grandfather to use as a beater. He did 3,000mi oil changes all the way up to 103,000 when I bought it. Since then I've put an additional 230,000 on the odo. Car still runs like a top.

As an aside, put a magnetic drain plug in your oil pan if you have a cast rotating assembly. Even at 3000mi, you will be surprised what sticks to it
 
2013-01-27 09:32:07 AM

Lsherm: My car has been 7500 since new, and the service manual doesn't indicate that the interval should change over the life of the car.  I'm just getting to 150,000 miles, so I've been doing it every 5K just to be safe, but I could probably still get away with every 7500.  I've been meaning to try synthetic, but the local oil change shops charge a goddamn fortune for it and I'll have to do it myself for it to make any economic sense.


My wifes car has the oil life sensor magic. When we use regular oil the light goes on around 7500 miles. We switched to the synthetic blends that are much cheaper than full synthetic. That gives us a little over 10000 miles before the light comes on. It's pretty much a break even on the cost with fewer trips for oil changes. Less hassle same price. Win.

Outlaw2097: maybe for the first few changes on a new engine. just to make sure the metal gets flushed good.

/otherwise its stupid


Even that is outdated. It's been a very long time since manufacturers have used "break in" oil.
 
2013-01-27 09:47:53 AM
Eight years ago I paid $250 for a lifetime oil change for my new car. Every 3000 miles as long as I own the car.120,000 miles later I'm still happy to bring it in and get the oil changed every few months.
 
2013-01-27 09:49:23 AM
Cars nowadays tell you when it's time to change the oil.  I think mine is arond 7K miles before I get the display.  meh
 
2013-01-27 10:07:37 AM
Just once I would like to take my lightly modified mustang into one of these chain oil change places just to see what they would possibly try to upsell me on. But then, I would also have to trust that they wouldn't just dump transmission fluid into my engine or pour antifreeze in my wiper fluid.
 
2013-01-27 10:10:02 AM
I don't like how pushy they've become. I go into an auto shop for routine oil and they do the 21 point inspection....

"Hey, it looks like your air filter is a little clogged. It needs replacing."
"No it doesn't. Just the oil please."
"I see you're using the wrong type of anti-freeze for this type of radiator. Would you like us to...."
"Nothing wrong with the anti-freeze. Just the oil please."
"Your transmission fluid is..."
"Transmission's fine."
"Your washer fluid is low..."
"I'll fill it myself, thanks."
"Tires look a little worn..."
"Just the oil, please."
*smash* "Your tail light is out..."
"You just did that!"
 
2013-01-27 10:12:38 AM

Lsherm: My car has been 7500 since new, and the service manual doesn't indicate that the interval should change over the life of the car.  I'm just getting to 150,000 miles, so I've been doing it every 5K just to be safe, but I could probably still get away with every 7500.  I've been meaning to try synthetic, but the local oil change shops charge a goddamn fortune for it and I'll have to do it myself for it to make any economic sense.


You don't change your own oil? I didn't think such people existed.
 
2013-01-27 10:15:52 AM

limeyfellow: You don't change your own oil? I didn't think such people existed.


Yeah, and some people don't fix their own computers either.

What a bunch of losers!
 
2013-01-27 10:22:17 AM

Mister Peejay: Newsflash: If a shop charges $30 for an oil change and spends a half hour at $100/hour labor rate plus $20 in materials costs, how much profit is there in an oil change?

On the other hand, changing the timing chains and guides at 60k because of lack of maintenance is very profitable.

/if we were interested solely in making money, we'd tell people to do nothing until it breaks


If you mean charge $30 for $15 in regular oil, or $65 for $30 synthetic, and then $35 in shop fees for 15 minutes of work while paying the techs $12/hr, then yeah, I think there is quite a bit of profit in oil changes.
 
2013-01-27 10:29:05 AM

poorjon: I've got a Passat with the 1.8T. If you've got a VW turbo and don't make oil changes a religion, the engine will leap out of the hood and try to devour you.

/Maybe not getting a VW next time.


If you've got a VW turbo the electrical system is going to short out and burn you to death long before oil changes become a problem....
 
2013-01-27 10:29:59 AM

limeyfellow: Lsherm: My car has been 7500 since new, and the service manual doesn't indicate that the interval should change over the life of the car.  I'm just getting to 150,000 miles, so I've been doing it every 5K just to be safe, but I could probably still get away with every 7500.  I've been meaning to try synthetic, but the local oil change shops charge a goddamn fortune for it and I'll have to do it myself for it to make any economic sense.

You don't change your own oil? I didn't think such people existed.


I CAN, but I don't.
 
2013-01-27 10:30:39 AM

StrangeQ: Mister Peejay: Newsflash: If a shop charges $30 for an oil change and spends a half hour at $100/hour labor rate plus $20 in materials costs, how much profit is there in an oil change?

On the other hand, changing the timing chains and guides at 60k because of lack of maintenance is very profitable.

/if we were interested solely in making money, we'd tell people to do nothing until it breaks

If you mean charge $30 for $15 in regular oil, or $65 for $30 synthetic, and then $35 in shop fees for 15 minutes of work while paying the techs $12/hr, then yeah, I think there is quite a bit of profit in oil changes.


Not to mention that oil changes are used to fill up empty bay time- Making $30 is better than making $0.
 
2013-01-27 10:42:06 AM
The number of hours run is a better measure. That said, I change the totally synthetic oil in my 2008 Toyota FJ once a year or every 7,500 miles.
 
2013-01-27 10:54:43 AM

mr_a: For the record, I have always changed our vehicles at 5000. It may be overkill, but then again my last three vehicles have averaged over 230,000 miles before trade in. Given the cost of a new vehicle, sending an extra $1800 seems like a good bet to make for a payoff of an extra year or two on a vehicle.


FTA:

The quick-change industry's deep fallback argument in favor of frequent oil changes is that they are a hedge against trouble. You can't hurt your engine by changing your oil too often, so doesn't that imply that it might actually help it? Well, no.

Steve Mazor, manager of American Automobile Association's Research Center, said that more-frequent-than-necessary oil changes will not "gain any additional life for your engine or any improved fuel economy." He added, "In reality it will make little or no difference to the performance of the vehicle."


Sounds like you've bought into one of the logical fallacies discussed in the article...
 
2013-01-27 11:00:12 AM

Ishkur: I don't like how pushy they've become. I go into an auto shop for routine oil and they do the 21 point inspection....

"Hey, it looks like your air filter is a little clogged. It needs replacing."


Heh. I had some 18-year old kid try to use that line on me, just hours before I bought and installed a new one myself...

/ would change my own oil
// but work like that is banned by my apt. complex manager.
/// already got the evil eye for changing out my dead headlight bulb....
 
2013-01-27 11:05:15 AM
Mine tells me to change oil at about 9k, which I do. I have 111k now. Next time I should run the used oil thru a screen to see what's in it. I have not yet had any sign of any sort of problem.
 
2013-01-27 11:08:02 AM

Bigger Leftist Intarweb Schlong: I go whenever the sticker on my windshield tells me to go. They also check and change all the other assorted engine fluids. Last time they replaced one of my taillights for me that I didn't realize was out, free of charge.

I love my mechanic.


And your mechanic loves you.  That sticker is a 3000 mile sticker.  Check your owners manual (online if you lost it) and follow its recommendations.

Continue to support your local mechanic.  But yeah, a $2 bulb for free in this case is like the time I bought a new Lexus and they gave me a sleeve of logo golf balls.
 
2013-01-27 11:19:46 AM
I just wait until the oil light comes on. That's what it's for right?

/then I get a new car
 
2013-01-27 11:35:05 AM

limeyfellow: You don't change your own oil? I didn't think such people existed.


By the time I've driven to the store to buy the oil, changed the oil and driven to a gas station to drop off the waste oil the amount of time I've invested is far more than the cost of having the oil changed. I will do some of my own auto work, but it tends to be the labor intensive stuff that I can actually save money on like replacing gaskets or timing belts/chains.
 
2013-01-27 11:38:10 AM
I offered to bring a new car in early for the first oil change. The Ford dealer's service supervisor said, "Don't bother: wait for the notification light because they put in a special blend for the early life of the engine." The Ford notification system comes on at 95% of oil life.
 
2013-01-27 11:49:15 AM

Bigger Leftist Intarweb Schlong: I go whenever the sticker on my windshield tells me to go. They also check and change all the other assorted engine fluids. Last time they replaced one of my taillights for me that I didn't realize was out, free of charge.

I love my mechanic.


This.

We've been taking our vehicles to the same mechanic now since '99. Honest and reliable. That's hard to find anymore.
 
2013-01-27 11:51:22 AM
I put full synth and one of the better "extended milage" filters on my cars.

I change my oil once a year, however many miles that is. Seems to be working fine although the most I have ever put on a car is about 20k in one year, and I'm way below that now.
 
2013-01-27 11:54:01 AM
i bought my 09 new but only put about 6k on it a year. the manual says replace oil every 6 months or 5k but i can't get myself to replace oil that often has less the 3k on it. i live in a warm climate and even though i take short trips i don't think i'm rough on the car.
 
2013-01-27 12:00:33 PM
I'm surprised people who change their own oil actually bother taking the old stuff to a recycling center. What a pain in the ass.

I just dump mine in the neighbor's yard.
 
2013-01-27 12:02:58 PM

Mister Peejay: On the other hand, changing the timing chains and guides at 60k because of lack of maintenance is very profitable.


You don't need to change a timing chain. A timing belt, yes, but only every 120K miles or so.
 
2013-01-27 12:04:16 PM
Just got a brand new Chrysler 200* (which is the only car that wasn't an SUV that fit me and my huge torso). Planning on going until the oil light. .

Though my uncle totaled a car at 55,000 by never changing the oil.

*Would not recommend. Average gas mileage in the city is 17, highway is 27, and you can't really see back to check your blind spots when pulling out of a parking spot because the rear window column is in the exact wrong spot. It just was the only car on 2 lots that fit me.
 
2013-01-27 12:06:51 PM

Mister Peejay: Newsflash: If a shop charges $30 for an oil change and spends a half hour at $100/hour labor rate plus $20 in materials costs, how much profit is there in an oil change?

On the other hand, changing the timing chains and guides at 60k because of lack of maintenance is very profitable.

/if we were interested solely in making money, we'd tell people to do nothing until it breaks


I know plenty of people who work in service stations, and I know they aren't personally out to try to cheat you out of your money -- they really don't seem to care, and just prefer they remain employed, which requires a stream of cars.

The realistic profit margin in an oil change, at least in this area, if people do their jobs right still sits around 30-40%. You can stay in business and profit with just that margin, though it's not easy given you still have to pay your rent and, depending how long you've been in business, your facilities and tools. That said, you're right that a great many places intentionally use oil changes as close to a loss-leader to get people in the door for additional service, much of it unneeded. That's where the sketchiness starts to come in, though it's most often associated with actual dealers.

I personally found a mechanic (two-location shop) with whom I had a conversation over the years that basically went, "You know far more about this than I do. It's likely you can screw me over. I'm going to occasionally get my car checked by someone else if you make a recommendation, and if you're trying to scam me, I'll never do business with you again. If you are honest with me and anyone I refer to you, I'll refer a bunch of people to you, and I'm more than willing to pay you a healthy margin and do whatever you think is best, and won't try to negotiate you into no-profit land."

That dude has made himself a very, very good mint over the years out of being honest, as I've referred people and businesses to him that otherwise wouldn't have heard of him. To his credit, he's managed to make them all happy (even the "I lurv cars!" people).

In short, for those of you who, like me, accept you won't ever know enough about cars to make the "best decision" -- find yourself a good mechanic. There are plenty of them out there. Most of them are pretty honest people, you just have to show them a little bit of respect. If that doesn't make sense, go sit in a mechanic's shop and listen to some of the shiat people say to them over the course of a day. If you try to tell them how to do their jobs, you're probably going to get reamed. All bets are off if you go to a dealer, though -- at least in this area.

/doesn't do 3000 mile oil changes, in some cases would be changing oil every 2-3 weeks
//we don't recommend 3000 mile oil changes on our fleet, either -- 5000 minimum, with 7000 - 10000 on newer engines
///when I was younger, I had a car I changed the oil on every 30,000 miles. That is not adviseable. :)
 
2013-01-27 12:07:46 PM

Mr. Eugenides: Eight years ago I paid $250 for a lifetime oil change for my new car. Every 3000 miles as long as I own the car.120,000 miles later I'm still happy to bring it in and get the oil changed every few months.


Yeah but the filter must be worn out by now...
 
2013-01-27 12:10:01 PM

offmymeds: Bigger Leftist Intarweb Schlong: I go whenever the sticker on my windshield tells me to go. They also check and change all the other assorted engine fluids. Last time they replaced one of my taillights for me that I didn't realize was out, free of charge.

I love my mechanic.

This.

We've been taking our vehicles to the same mechanic now since '99. Honest and reliable. That's hard to find anymore.


I think they're coming back. We may just be lucky, but there are quite a few good ones in the Louisville area. Don't get me wrong, there are some bad ones, too, but it's not like it was 10 years ago when there were 2 or 3 honest shops in the city (most of the honest shops got bought out by dishonest shops back then). Wish I could remember then name of that chain that kept buying people out and then just farking everyone over. I think they're down to just two or three shops now here.
 
2013-01-27 12:12:04 PM

ski9600: Mr. Eugenides: Eight years ago I paid $250 for a lifetime oil change for my new car. Every 3000 miles as long as I own the car.120,000 miles later I'm still happy to bring it in and get the oil changed every few months.

Yeah but the filter must be worn out by now...


I work in a different industry, but we deal with oil changes _a lot._ It amazes me how many companies will regularly change their own oils to save money, but for some reason don't seem to remember that filters have to be changed, too. I've seen motors come back completely seized/destroyed because some service manager saved himself a few hundred dollars in oil and never bothered to change the godforsaken filters (which, btw, are usually insignificant compared to the oil, unless you're dealing with some older motors where they're impossible to get to).
 
2013-01-27 12:22:20 PM

FitzShivering: All bets are off if you go to a dealer, though -- at least in this area.


You too? Same here.
My truck was in for some warranty work and the service manager came out to the waiting area with my air filter saying it should be changed.
It had a full-sized dried leaf on it.

I asked him how that leaf got past the air inlet grill below the windshield.

He said nothing.

I told him to put the filter back in the truck, and also put the leaf back where he found it.
 
2013-01-27 12:29:59 PM
Changing oil or plugging a flat are two things you should know how to do yourself, or sleep with a guy who does.*

*disclaimer: I will consider trading light automotive work for sex.
 
2013-01-27 12:36:35 PM

Mister Peejay: Newsflash: If a shop charges $30 for an oil change and spends a half hour at $100/hour labor rate plus $20 in materials costs, how much profit is there in an oil change?

On the other hand, changing the timing chains and guides at 60k because of lack of maintenance is very profitable.

/if we were interested solely in making money, we'd tell people to do nothing until it breaks




Yeah, the dimwits who couldn't get TSA jobs and instead work for the oil change place cost $100/hr. And five quarts of oil and filter when your national corporation buys that stuff by the million-unit load DEFINITELY costs you $20. Plus no way do you make money bilking the ignorant into needlessly replacing air filters, etc at a 4x markup from your own cost.

Full of bullshiat guy is full of bullshiat.
 
2013-01-27 12:36:52 PM
Rotella oil and amsoil filter change every 4000 miles.
Complete fluid changes at 50k miles.
The minivan has 285k miles
Old truck has 240k miles
My system works for me.
 
2013-01-27 12:38:22 PM
I took my car in for a warranty repair and the guy handed me a list of list of other work that needed to be done. I said 'why you say I need new air filter? I change it two week ago.' He said 'then you know how difficult it is to get in there. We assume nobody does it, so we go by the odometer reading.' I wanted to be outraged, but he had a good point.
 
2013-01-27 12:43:40 PM

Mr. Eugenides: Eight years ago I paid $250 for a lifetime oil change for my new car. Every 3000 miles as long as I own the car.120,000 miles later I'm still happy to bring it in and get the oil changed every few months.


So you are only wasting oil and not money?
 
2013-01-27 12:56:36 PM
Jetta TDI. I get the oil changed every 10k.

But I think VW recommends synthetic, so that generally lasts longer anyway.
 
2013-01-27 12:56:42 PM
For cryin' out loud, that article was WAY too long for what it was trying to say.
 
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